Huenemann. R. L. Hampton, M. C, Behnke. A. R., Shapiro, L. R.. and Mitchell, B. W. TEENAGE NUTRITION AND PHYSIQUE Springfield, III.: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 1974, 241 pp., $9.75.
This data-packed book provides a definitive resource of considerable merit for physicians, nutritionists, and educators concerned about the dietary practices of teenagers. The authors delineate factors influencing eating habits of adolescents that have far-reaching public health implications demanding careful scrutiny by professionals concerned with the health of this group. Examples of these factors include the remarkable physical inactivity of teenage boys and girls; the lower caloric intakes of obese boys and girls than those of their lean and average counterparts; insufficient calcium, ascorbic acid, and thiamine intake in boys and calcium and iron in girls but adequate protein and niacin in both; and teenage girls' preoccupation with weight reduction regardless of their body composition. The authors found that the breakfast skippers were often indeed the obese students and that, since the youngsters who ate frequently were inclined to have generally good diets, we should not malign their snacking habits. Furthermore, their findings indicate that the tendency to obesity is more strongly related to socioeconomic and genetic factors than to ethnicity.
The lack of an index in a work containing so much prevalence data is understandable. The table labels, especially in the anthropometric findings section, are not precise; to interpret some of them requires a search through the text. The case studies in the appendix are both helpful and informative.
Perhaps the chief benefactors of this study will be the nutrition educators entrusted with developing innovative teaching techniques to improve teenage dietary practices, physiques, and physical fitness; but this book is also recommended for any health professional desiring realistic insight into the complex world of the teenager and his motivations regarding diet. Indeed, the authors themselves have taken a realistic approach by suggesting changes in nutritional health education efforts to conform to the life-style of the teenager rather than changes in the teenager's lifestyle to ensure adequacy of the diet.